Saturday, February 23, 2008

The Week in Review

This was one of the high points of my week - literally, about as high as you can get. The lunar eclipse was right outside my front door. The night was frigid, but the cloudless sky and unobstructed view beckoned. I set up my tripod and made calls to all my kids to make sure they were witnessing it. Events like this are magical to me. Think about it - something as huge as our planet casting an ordinary shadow on an object as far away as the moon. It puts everything into perspective. It also astounds me that the whole hemisphere was watching it - everyone coming together for one purpose, to marvel at the sky. We may understand the science behind it now, but I believe it still holds the power and magic that it did so long ago.


Scaling back down from the largest of wonders to the smallest magic, these tiny hands hold a similar fascination for me. I have been under the spell of Riley's hands for days now...12 to be exact. Look how she has laced each and every finger together into a complete hand fold. Think about it - we fold our hands so very easily, without even thinking about it. But a newborn? Does folding one's hands come naturally? This child has the most expressive hands. They remind me of my daughter Kerry's hands. Long, slender fingers that look beautiful, even in repose. To me, hands are the most beautiful and expressive part of a person. People are conscious of their faces and will often hide or control their expression, but no one really pays attention to their hands. There's no masking or censoring there.

Remember Alfred Stieglitz's photographs of Georgia O'Keeffe's hands. Staring at Riley's hands is nothing new for me. I'll often sit and stare at my own hands. Pose them elegantly, envision photographs, paintings, drawings I want to do. But that's one thing I do not think I will ever be able to accomplish - translating my vision of the beauty of the hand into something tangible. So instead, I use my hands to create what I can, what I feel is beautiful. Use the beautiful to create the beautiful.

For the upcoming special issue Studios from Cloth Paper Scissors, they asked us what our favorite tool was. Yes, my answer was "My hands." I can't wait to see everyone else's favorite tool. Did anyone else say hands? I also cannot wait to see how my little congested bedroom studio plays out against all those other spacious, bright, dedicated studio spaces. Fortunately for me, and for many of you, I am sure, you don't need a grand studio to make grand work. What is important is that you create. Space or place is no excuse for not creating.

And that brings me to my other news for this week in review. I have been working on my classes for the upcoming online Quilting Arts Festival. It's a radically new format for taking classes. Several teachers have filmed one hour classes that will be presented online. I missed the first filming because of Riley, but I will soon be heading to Massachusetts to film my two classes. So yes, I will be teaching this year, right in your home, at your convenience. They're still working on the website and classes should be announced next week. Go there and sign up now so you'll be notified the minute they start taking registration. And better yet, if you like "home-study", order the Quilting Arts TV DVDs. I have small segments on 3 different shows. 13 shows in all, LOTS of gorgeous quilts and mixed media ideas.

So, please, go create something today. Choose the place, find the space. Let your hands be your inspiration. Mark-making, handprints, finger-painting. The power lies within your hands. Start and the art will follow. More than any other part of the body, our hands reveal our inner state. ~ Omraam Mikhaël Aïvanhov

6 comments:

Jules said...

Lesley - your blog is such an inspiration and I have been a student in a couple of your classes which I thoroughly enjoyed. I tagged you with the "You Make My Day Award", but certainly don't expect this award thing to keep going in circles...just my opportunity to let you know how much I enjoy your blog, your work and your sweet spirit.

nina said...

hmm. didn't they pose that question in CPS a couple of years back? i know they did, 'cause i wrote back my answer of "hands" and was told to come up with something else because so many other folks had said the same thing. hmpf....
are you working in my self portrait journal? i don't know if you remember that its theme is the hand (hence, the name Handbook) - i can't wait to see how everyone used their own hands as the artwork.....
riley's hands are so beautiful....x

Judy Merrill-Smith said...

Thanks for sharing the things that you are wowed by, Lesley. I am fascinated by hands, too. I am trying to learn how to draw them, but I find it so hard! Ah well, there is pleasure in the effort.

Jasminé said...

Gorgeous pic of the moon...theres something about the moon,its one of the most amazing creations, besides the ocean in my opinion...
Your blog is very interesting!
Regards from Ireland

Sue Smith said...

Dear Lesley,
I had the priviledge of participating in two of your classes at the Artistic Journey Retreat in Fremantle, Western Australia last year. I learned so much from you in that short amount of time and have been busy working with fabric whenever I get the chance. you have been a great influence on some of the work I have made since then. I regularly visit your blog and just wanted to let you know that I think you are amazing. I've awarded you with the 'You Make My Day' award on my blog.

Maj said...

Oh - I can totally relate to "having no space is no excuse for not creating!" At the moment, my studio is occupied, which leaves me just a tiny table to create at... but it is enough for small projects. It is just fine - for now! At art school, I had a japanese teacher who said: It is not important how much space you have to create in. Inside your head, you have all the space you can possibly imagine!